Revealing the big issues for the region at forum held today
A FOCUS on creating policies around jobs, the environment, mental health, education and local industries was in the spotlight at a regional forum held in Bundaberg today.
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch, Minister for Education and Industrial Relations Grace Grace addressed a room full of local stakeholders including Bundaberg Tourism while Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders chaired the event.
Ms Grace said it was important to get out and listen to people in regional areas in order to tailor policies relevant to individual regions.
"It's every great hearing these very experienced forum members telling us the issues in the regions which the government is responding to," she said.
"We have achieved - in just four meetings - so much and it feeds into the government policies when it comes to assisting in regions, investing in the regions and obviously targeting our programs to not only assist small business but to obviously create the jobs and implement the economic plan that we need to get Queensland moving again, be it tourism.
"Be it agriculture, be it health, be it education, whatever it is, these forums are feeding into those policies for the jobs and the economic recovery that we need right now."
Ms Grace said there was also a big focus on transitioning young people from school to employment.
"...We have a particular focus in the Wide Bay-Burnett region on getting young people into work," she said.
"Ensuring students have the confidence to make the step between high school and further education or employment is so important.
"That is why we are investing in our local schools and importantly in the programs our high school students need to get them ready for the workforce."
Ms Enoch said she supported findings in a recent report that up to 1800 jobs could be created by investing in eco-tourism around the Great Barrier Reef.
"As we know, the Great Barrier Reef is worth $6 billion to the Australian economy, it already supports at least 100 jobs," she said.
"This is a very important part of our tourism offering in Queensland and a very important part of our economy and that's why we need to make sure that it can be as healthy as possible and certainly the support of the tourism industry is something that is a clear focus of the Palasczszuk government as we come out of the other side of Covid-19."
Ms Enoch said opportunities for jobs with an environmental focus had already been made at Mon Repos.
"At the award-winning Mon Repos Turtle Centre, the Palaszczuk Government has invested $1.4 million in the purchase of 42 hectares for further upgrades and environmental improvements," she said.
"Upgrades to Mon Repos last year supported local employment, contributing more than 45 full-time jobs as well providing work for over 100 local tradies.
"Our government is also investing $400,000 through the National Parks Works and Jobs Boost to convert the centre to renewable energy."
Mr Saunders spoke about the important of mental health and the benefits of knowing from the forum that men especially were opening up and having important discussions.
One of the good things that are coming out of this forum as we're finding out is we're finding people are talking about mental health issues now, it's not put in the top drawer or locked away, and families are talking about it," he said.
"We're finding men are talking about their issues, that's something we've learnt today at the forum...".